Although it’s certainly not perfect – especially when compared with plasma TVs – the 52XD1E’s motion handling is good by LCD standards, too. The charging hordes on the battle plains of The Return of the King thus retain slightly more resolution and authenticity than on many LCD rivals, including the otherwise mighty Samsung 52M87BD.
At first glance it appears that the 52XD1E’s black levels are impressive by LCD standards too, as general mid-brightness scenes appear with plenty of dynamism, punch and scale. However, longer term viewing, especially of predominantly dark material such as the HD DVD of Superman Returns or Gears of War on the Xbox 360, does leave you feeling that really dark parts of the picture can look a touch over-stressed, lacking the sort of subtle shadow details that might help them integrate better into the picture as a whole. There’s no doubt whatsoever that placed side by side with Samsung’s 52M87, the Samsung’s black levels are much more deep, natural and impactful.
As a knock on effect of its slight black level ‘strain’, the Sharp sometimes struggles with colour tones during dark scenes, for instance making people’s skin look either rather pale or over-pink – as well as a bit textureless.
One final issue with the 52XD1E is that, in keeping with quite a few full HD LCD TVs, it doesn’t look particularly great with standard definition sources, tending to exaggerate any noise that might be inherent to them, and definitely suffering with noticeably more motion handling problems.
Although the 52XD1E’s speakers are ‘hidden’ in the TV’s design and thus don’t promise a great deal in terms of power and throw distance, they actually turn out to be OK. Sure, a bit more bass wouldn’t have gone amiss, but there’s enough sheer volume and mid-range openness to deliver a soundstage that just about does justice to the screen’s huge dimensions.
The 52XD1E is certainly a good TV, especially for the money, and will doubtless satisfy anyone who decides to buy one, at least while viewing HD sources. Yet we have to say that if it were our money, the extra picture quality and enhanced feature count of Samsung’s 52M87BD would probably lean us in the Korean brand’s direction instead.